The first time Akira hears Shindou sing, he at first wonders why Kobushi Records signed him, because those were definitely flat notes, and that was a sharp one.
And then Shindou takes a breath and slides into the chorus, and Akira blinks, because Shindou is singing like a treble. Effortlessly. It's not as sustained or supported as it could be - he's not getting enough air, that note definitely wasn't supposed to end that early - but Akira is impressed anyway.
Adult men don't have that range. It's a refrain he's heard for years, ever since his own voice settled into a distinctly high counter-tenor, and he's always having to tell people that, no, he really doesn't exaggerate his range and, no, it's not digitally enhanced.
But here, here is a boy who looks like he came straight out of a punk band doing it almost as easily as Akira does.
"Impressive, isn't it?" Ogata murmurs; Akira hadn't even noticed his manager, too busy listening. "His name's Shindou Hikaru, he's seventeen, and he's only here because his vocal coach made him audition."
Akira frowns. "Made him...?"
"Apparently," Ogata replies wryly, "he's more into football than music, and he only has a vocal coach because Fujiwara-san literally badgered Shindou-kun into hiring him after he heard Shindou-kun sing. At karaoke."
"You're joking," Akira blurts. "A voice like that and he'd rather play football?"
"Fujiwara-san bribed his football team to not schedule a match today," Ogata replies. At Akira's incredulous look, he laughs. "I couldn't make this up if I tried, Touya-kun."
"Utterly ridiculous," Akira mutters. Then, "Wait. Fujiwara-san— You don't mean Fujiwara Sai?"
Ogata just nods, and gestures across the room; Fujiwara-san is watching Shindou closely, scarcely moving, and Akira's a little suprised he hadn't noticed Fujiwara-san before. Hair that long is noticeable - especially when it's purple.
"I thought he'd retired," Akira says, low, as Shindou slowly, gently, brings the song down towards its end.
"So did I," Ogata agrees. And then he smiles. "I believe, Touya-kun, that the music scene is about to get very... Interesting."
Akira doesn't reply, because he's been distracted by Shindou again. This song, most people carry it low and sweet from bridge to the end; Shindou takes the last two lines like they're a challenge, and ends on a sustained note so high, so well executed - not a wobble, not even as it fades softer - that Akira's eyes flutter shut in appreciation.
And that's when he decides Shindou is someone worth keeping an eye on.